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booknookbiz

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Dec 31, 2017 7:17 PM   in response to: resteasy in response to: resteasy
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resteasy wrote:
writerbn wrote:
Gary O'Riley wrote:
It was fascinating to talk to the man. His in depth knowledge of printing was astounding. When he first started work, he and his work mates would be fined a shilling (old money) for every typesetting error they made!

When I was a kid, I saw the guys setting lead type by hand, in wooden forms. It was an art as much as a science. That press already had Linotype machines, which would eventually make hand typesetting obsolete, but they used manual typesetting for smaller jobs.

First local newspaper I worked on in 1968 still operated using lead. The compositors placed the lead text in wooden forms and could even read the type backwards in them i.e. mirror image reversal when impressed on paper. But the printing world was beginning to undergo revolution, first moving to offset litho, obviating the metal plates and within another decade the dawning of desktop publishing, which swept away the skills of the old printing world within a short space of time. Trouble is, the new technology has also heralded a new era where even the illiterate can print pamphlets, posters, et al without any knowledge of design, spelling or grammar. But you probably know all that.


When I worked on a school paper, it was lead typesetting, and I can still read it upside down and mirrored. ;-)

Hitch
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Gary O'Riley

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 2:43 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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"My first observation is, man, his (Faulks') covers leave a lot to be desired, for a trade-pubbed author. They look quite a bit like Createspace Cover Creator DIY efforts, don't they?"

Yup, I agree. I've noticed that some big trads have even started using stock images, together with some Photoshop input.

The cost cutting has been coming on for a long time. Twenty years ago a retired chairman of fairly a big UK trad, told me that in the early 70s they would think nothing of sending a London based photographer, model, make-up artist and art director on location to continental Europe for a few of days, just to take pics for a bookcover, and would then often decide not to use the material! When the fella told me the story in the 90s, such profligacy was already a distant memory.

I'm acquainted with an mid-list author, published with one of the Big 5, he has often been disappointed with the book blurbs the publisher foists onto him. He eventually discovered that the publisher used teenage interns to write the blurbs for the mid-list authors!

Hitch, thanks for your comments on typesetting. This morning I examined some lines of text in a couple of 70s hard back novels. It was fascinating to see the tiny unnoticeable (unless you're looking) adjustments to the word spacing.

As I said earlier, I've recently been replacing some old Penguin paperback classics and have been disappointed at the second-rate (IMO) PDFs that have obviously been used. I could get the same results myself using KDP Print! And I wouldn't charge £7.00 ($9.45) for the resulting books!

All of which, begs the question: why bother with trads?

writerbn

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 5:32 AM   in response to: resteasy in response to: resteasy
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resteasy wrote:
Trouble is, the new technology has also heralded a new era where even the illiterate can print pamphlets, posters, et al without any knowledge of design, spelling or grammar. But you probably know all that.

To be fair, that was happening in the days of Gutenberg as well. It wasn't as pervasive, though.
writerbn

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 5:36 AM   in response to: Gary O'Riley in response to: Gary O'Riley
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Gary O'Riley wrote:
All of which, begs the question: why bother with trads?
Marketing.

But only if you're a mid-list author or higher. Still, if a Big Five imprint magically dropped a contract in my lap, I'd seriously consider it.
robert d dorazi

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 6:20 AM   in response to: Gary O'Riley in response to: Gary O'Riley
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Nothing surprising. There is always a time for famous and best sellers authors when their name is much larger than the title because the name is what readers are waiting for. The rest becomes less important. As for the cover, it most likely appeals to the readers that follow this particular author. And both covers are obviously similar in the impression they give.

Robert Dorazi
resteasy

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:35 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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booknookbiz wrote:

When I worked on a school paper, it was lead typesetting, and I can still read it upside down and mirrored.

Start 'em young, and the skills stay for life. Wonder what the new generation's reflections on the skills of Instagram will be? 😟
resteasy

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 4:39 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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writerbn wrote:
resteasy wrote:
Trouble is, the new technology has also heralded a new era where even the illiterate can print pamphlets, posters, et al without any knowledge of design, spelling or grammar. But you probably know all that.

To be fair, that was happening in the days of Gutenberg as well. It wasn't as pervasive, though.


So that's when the rot set in.
booknookbiz

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 10:21 PM   in response to: Gary O'Riley in response to: Gary O'Riley
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Gary O'Riley wrote:
"My first observation is, man, his (Faulks') covers leave a lot to be desired, for a trade-pubbed author. They look quite a bit like Createspace Cover Creator DIY efforts, don't they?"

Yup, I agree. I've noticed that some big trads have even started using stock images, together with some Photoshop input.


Yes, but these are particularly noticeably unfortunate, IMHO.

The cost cutting has been coming on for a long time. Twenty years ago a retired chairman of fairly a big UK trad, told me that in the early 70s they would think nothing of sending a London based photographer, model, make-up artist and art director on location to continental Europe for a few of days, just to take pics for a bookcover, and would then often decide not to use the material! When the fella told me the story in the 90s, such profligacy was already a distant memory.

A long time ago and far away, a friend of mine had a modeling gig--did shots all day, from which an artist would then, in turn, "draw" the cover. Boy, those were the days, eh?

I'm acquainted with an mid-list author, published with one of the Big 5, he has often been disappointed with the book blurbs the publisher foists onto him. He eventually discovered that the publisher used teenage interns to write the blurbs for the mid-list authors!

I admit, that sounds insane. Is s/he sure?

Hitch, thanks for your comments on typesetting. This morning I examined some lines of text in a couple of 70s hard back novels. It was fascinating to see the tiny unnoticeable (unless you're looking) adjustments to the word spacing.

It's entertaining to look, isn't it? I have h/c and paperbacks from even the 1920's here, and it's interesting to look at the changes in typography. And yes--you can't see the handiwork of a skilled typesetter, unless you're looking. I know that people I speak with today are shocked when I tell them that yes--even in typography, the "golden ratio" is used, in the laying-out of pages. In the "old days," the typographer actually read the entire book, so that s/he would have the right knowledge and feel of the work, to do the book justice in the layout. Can you imagine that now? For a few hundred bucks a book? (OTOH, I'm always surprised at how many of our clients are surprised when I tell them that no, we don't read their eBooks. How can they possibly think that someone charging, say, $200 to convert a book has the time to read it?)

As I said earlier, I've recently been replacing some old Penguin paperback classics and have been disappointed at the second-rate (IMO) PDFs that have obviously been used. I could get the same results myself using KDP Print! And I wouldn't charge £7.00 ($9.45) for the resulting books!

Well, if you do POD, you would, due to the costs of production. ;-)

All of which, begs the question: why bother with trads?

Marketing and editing, largely. Granted, the marketing isn't brilliant today, for new or midlisters, but they DO typically get better editing than 90% or more of all self-pubbed eBooks; at least, that's certainly what I see when I look around. FWIW.

resteasy wrote:
Start 'em young, and the skills stay for life. Wonder what the new generation's reflections on the skills of Instagram will be? 😟

Yes--in my late 20's, I had a boss, and it used to drive him absolutely nuts that he could NEVER figure out how I knew the stuff I knew. I just read it across his desk, lol. Can do it to this day, almost as easily as I can read it right-side up and rightways. :-D

Hitch
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Donna St Felix

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 10:33 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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booknookbiz wrote:
Yes--in my late 20's, I had a boss, and it used to drive him absolutely nuts that he could NEVER figure out how I knew the stuff I knew. I just read it across his desk, lol. Can do it to this day, almost as easily as I can read it right-side up and rightways. :-D

I can read things the same way. I'll never forget when one of my sons noticed it and the look on his face.
Notjohn

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 4:07 AM   in response to: resteasy in response to: resteasy
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All of which, begs the question: why bother with trads?

Marketing and editing, largely. Granted, the marketing isn't brilliant today, for new or midlisters, but they DO typically get better editing than 90% or more of all self-pubbed eBooks; at least, that's certainly what I see when I look around. FWIW.

Well, both Susan and I earned our living for many years as freelance editors, so I believe we can do nearly as good a job as anyone this side of Oxford University Press. What a reputable publisher can do is SELL the books, collect the money, and remit it to the author -- to be sure, four months after the close of the accounting period, which at best is six months, so the money can be up to ten months old, or sixteen months in the case of a university press.

My last conventionally published book went out of print in January 2016. The ebook vanished immediately, of course, but the paperback took several months to work its way through the supply chain. I got out a revised/updated version by July. Priced at $4.95, the ebook actually earns much more per copy than did HarperCollins's $15 ebook, but sells only half as many copies. As for the paperback, forget it! It's priced at $14.95, about the same as Amazon was selling the HC paperback, which of course was a better value.

HarperCollins sold 40,000 copies. I haven't yet sold 400.

Speaking of what a real publisher pays for production, that HC paperback came out in 2007. In the process of doing my own cover, I was given the name of the cover artist who did the work for HC, and she in turn sent me a copy of her contract so I could trace where the artwork came from. And get this: she was paid $2500 for that cover!

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook. Each does one thing well and the other thing poorly.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting (2018 edition)

The blog: https://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Gary O'Riley

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 6:21 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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I hear what you're saying, NJ. But from a customer/consumer point of view, I can see that standards are slipping with the big trads.

Apart from my comments about Penguin Random House, I'm in the middle of reading a new Faber & Faber paperback, and once again I'm occasionally encountering excessive word spacing, in an apparent desperate effort to meet the justification parameters. Clearly not enough effort is being put into typesetting the PDFs.
campcomms

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Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 7:22 AM   in response to: Gary O'Riley in response to: Gary O'Riley
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I've never made a writing misteak in the 48 years I have been a professional writer.
Jonathan B

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Registered: 10/23/12
Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 8:05 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Notjohn wrote:

Speaking of what a real publisher pays for production, that HC paperback came out in 2007. In the process of doing my own cover, I was given the name of the cover artist who did the work for HC, and she in turn sent me a copy of her contract so I could trace where the artwork came from. And get this: she was paid $2500 for that cover!

As I go to cons, I am always on the lookout for cover artists at the art shows. I've found several who do covers for the trad houses. I've approached them about doing covers for me, and they are all willing . . . at $3000-4000 a cover.

booknookbiz

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Registered: 03/04/10
Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 6:22 PM   in response to: Jonathan B in response to: Jonathan B
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Jonathan B wrote:
Notjohn wrote:

Speaking of what a real publisher pays for production, that HC paperback came out in 2007. In the process of doing my own cover, I was given the name of the cover artist who did the work for HC, and she in turn sent me a copy of her contract so I could trace where the artwork came from. And get this: she was paid $2500 for that cover!

As I go to cons, I am always on the lookout for cover artists at the art shows. I've found several who do covers for the trad houses. I've approached them about doing covers for me, and they are all willing . . . at $3000-4000 a cover.

We do keep an inhouse list, with cover designers of this caliber; I even have the portfolio of the woman who did the cover design for our last President--to the tune of a cool $8K. For a picture of his head/face, mind you. Eight thousand smackers. Yowza. ;-)

It constantly amazes me to hear from prospective clients that they think that $100-$150 for a cover is "excessive." When I find good designers that work in that price range, man, they go on my list immediately, because IMHO, you're talking hen's teeth.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz

Jonathan B

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Registered: 10/23/12
Re: We ALL make mistakes!
Posted: Jan 2, 2018 8:04 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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booknookbiz wrote:
Jonathan B wrote:
Notjohn wrote:

Speaking of what a real publisher pays for production, that HC paperback came out in 2007. In the process of doing my own cover, I was given the name of the cover artist who did the work for HC, and she in turn sent me a copy of her contract so I could trace where the artwork came from. And get this: she was paid $2500 for that cover!

As I go to cons, I am always on the lookout for cover artists at the art shows. I've found several who do covers for the trad houses. I've approached them about doing covers for me, and they are all willing . . . at $3000-4000 a cover.

We do keep an inhouse list, with cover designers of this caliber; I even have the portfolio of the woman who did the cover design for our last President--to the tune of a cool $8K. For a picture of his head/face, mind you. Eight thousand smackers. Yowza. ;-)

It constantly amazes me to hear from prospective clients that they think that $100-$150 for a cover is "excessive." When I find good designers that work in that price range, man, they go on my list immediately, because IMHO, you're talking hen's teeth.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz


I went with $150 initially for cover art, and I suffered for it. I had reviewers write things like "Don't look at the cover. The book is actually good," and "Despite the cover, it is a good book."

Now, I spend between $400-500 for the art, then another $100 for the graphics. I've got much, much better covers.

But now I'm considering redoing nine covers. The thing is, those books only bringing about $75-150 each per month now, so I'm not sure I can justify it on a cost-benefit analysis. If I do it, I think it will only be for pride.
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